Ancient Monuments

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Medieval farmstead in Ireland Wood, 150m north east of Cookridge Hospital

A Scheduled Monument in Weetwood, Leeds

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Latitude: 53.8475 / 53°50'51"N

Longitude: -1.6139 / 1°36'50"W

OS Eastings: 425497.660197

OS Northings: 439100.214799

OS Grid: SE254391

Mapcode National: GBR B10.ZK

Mapcode Global: WHC95.5KQ8

Entry Name: Medieval farmstead in Ireland Wood, 150m north east of Cookridge Hospital

Scheduled Date: 21 December 1979

Last Amended: 7 July 1999

Source: Historic England

Source ID: 1018553

English Heritage Legacy ID: 31502

County: Leeds

Electoral Ward/Division: Weetwood

Built-Up Area: Leeds

Traditional County: Yorkshire

Lieutenancy Area (Ceremonial County): West Yorkshire

Church of England Parish: Ireland Wood St Paul

Church of England Diocese: Leeds


The monument includes a medieval longhouse with associated rubble banked and
orthostatic enclosures. It is situated in an area of fenced woodland north of
Cookridge Hospital in Leeds. The rubble banks extend beyond the fenced
enclosure on the south west and north east sides.
The longhouse is 16m long and 7m wide and has several visible courses of
stonework. It was partially excavated in 1977 and stonework revealed during
the excavation was then left open and exposed. This stonework has subsequently
suffered from visitor pressure and natural erosion. The associated banks form
a series of small compounds in the immediate vicinity of the longhouse; longer
banks extending further from this complex may be the boundaries of small
fields. The banks are composed of sandstone rubble, typically 3m wide and up
to 0.7m high. In some places they are faced with orthostats.
The fence where it crosses the monument is excluded from the scheduling,
although the ground beneath it is included.

The site of the monument is shown on the attached map extract.

Source: Historic England

Reasons for Scheduling

Medieval rural settlements in England were marked by great regional diversity
in form, size and type, and the protection of their archaeological remains
needs to take these differences into account. To do this, England has been
divided into three broad Provinces on the basis of each area's distinctive
mixture of nucleated and dispersed settlements. These can be further divided
into sub-Provinces and local regions, possessing characteristics which have
gradually evolved during the last 1500 years or more.
This monument lies in the Pennine Slope sub-Province of the Central Province,
which embraces the varied scarp and vale topography flanking the higher
portions of the southern Pennines, where narrow escarpments of limestone and
sandstone and softer shale vales give a distinct north-south grain to the
landscape. Dispersed settlement increases from extremely low to medium
densities in the south east of the sub-Province to high densities at the north
west. With the exception of Sherwood Forest, the region is well stocked with
nucleated settlements, some old but others the result of 18th- and 19th-
century industrial developments. Anglo-Saxon `wood' names are common among
placenames, and the area was well wooded in 1086.
The Southern Yorkshire Dales local region is densely settled with a variety of
dispersed and nucleated settlements, the result of industrial development
which led to the growth of old centres of population and the appearance of
many new ones. In a region which the Domesday Book shows as still heavily
wooded in 1086, the medieval settlements were mainly hamlets with communal

Farmsteads, normally occupied by only one or two families and comprising small
groups of buildings with attached yards, gardens and enclosures, were a
characteristic feature of the medieval rural landscape. They occur throughout
the country, the intensity of their distribution determined by local
topography and the nature of the agricultural system prevalent within the
region. In some areas of dispersed settlement they were the predominant
settlement form; elsewhere they existed alongside, or were components of, more
nucleated settlement patterns. The sites of many farmsteads have been occupied
down to the present day but others were abandoned as a result of, for example,
declining economic viability, enclosure or emparkment, or epidemics like the
Black Death. In the northern border areas, recurring cross-border raids and
military activities also disrupted agricultural life and led to abandonments.
Farmsteads are a common and long-lived monument type; the archaeological
deposits on those which were abandoned are often well-preserved and provide
important information on regional and national settlement patterns and farming
economies, and on changes in these through time.
The medieval farmstead in Ireland Wood survives well, despite some disturbance
in the past, following the exposure of stonework during excavation. The
farmstead is associated with a series of field enclosures and significant
information on the history and use of the farmstead and its fields will be

Source: Historic England

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